Sunday, January 05, 2014

New Year's Hike

From time to time I like reflecting on a hike. We did a great one yesterday at Oak Mtn. Chilly but sunny and thankfully no wind. It was  North Trail- yellow/white loop using the yellow/white connector that was the toughest straight up the hill climb we have ever done.

This route was 10.01 miles and took us about 3 hrs and 6 minutes- we stopped to take in a few views and pics and avg. about our normal 20 min per mile pace.

The start of the white/yellow to Maggie's Glenn (about a mile in) was great and somehow I missed the white turn-off and we ended up doing it backwards.

It is mostly flat until you get to Old Lake and spillway which is one of my favorite parts of the park. I wouldn't mind staying there one day.

From there, you have to a little negotiating to get back to the old camp road. We went a red bike trail 'Garrett's Gulch' to the gravel road.
Once you get to the road, your instinct says to go left to "Lightning" but you want to go right and find the Yellow/White connector and CLIMB the mountain to the crest.

I love that part of the White trail and the view was majestic.

This picture (left) is just before Maggie's Glenn.

Leigh Ann was a good sport- she had no way of knowing it was going to be 10 miles... and she never complained.

The low part of the trail was a little muddy- but the streams are beautiful in winter.

Every time I see a mountain stream I think of the Scarlet Letter where Hester Prynne is talking to little Pearl.

To Pearl, the stream was babbling songs of joy, but Hester said the stream was singing songs of sorrow.

Most nature poems speak the truth, that nature seems to always shine according to our disposition at the time. Some days it is walking in sunshine and other days the venerable whispers of melancholy. I seem to always feel hints of both. The grandeur of God's creation never fails to tug my desire to praise Him- but as I get older I sense the truth of sorrow as years make us acquainted with grief.

This stream was singing to me the whole time.... Happy New Year... and also I could feel the hint of the deep cold that is approaching this week as well.

And then the YELLOW/WHITE CLIMB- wow- it was something else- just after the 'experimental toilet' on group camp road, you start the ascension (603 ft at the base) to the top (1229 ft). The thing is- it is a 2.1 mile climb straight uphill for the most part.  IT TOOK US 45 MINUTES TO CREST! My heart was racing and I was pouring sweat. The Map My Run app said we burned 2701 calories- I bet 700 of those was right there!

This is definitely one of our favorite family activities and I am thankful to be healthy enough to do it. There were a lot of folks out yesterday- bikers/hikers/ and horseback. Always friendly people- and the healthy benefits of the sunshine radiate on everyone.

2014 is going to be a great year and already has had a promising beginning!

The next few days in Birmingham are going to be bitterly cold- so I way not be here again for some time. But I was so glad to get to enjoy it again.

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